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Pastoral surroundings distinguish Sanger recreations

This article is the second in a two-part series on Sanger, a small, rural town located southeast of Fresno.

Due to its relatively small size, Sanger offers a different atmosphere compared to larger neighboring cities through communal attractions and laid-back activities.

City home to distinctive scenery, cuisine

For one, the Blossom Trail is an area bicyclists visit due to the appealing scenery of hills and flowers. The path stretches over 62 miles, wraps around both Sanger and Reedley and attracts hundreds of cyclists every year.

Junior Zed Fries once went on the Blossom Trail with his family and says he enjoyed the experience of such an uncommon, leisurely activity.

“It was just something we did together that we don’t usually ever do,” Fries said. “It was easy because there were places to stop and there were races for different levels of people; it was just easy-going.”

Located in the midst of the avenue is the Blossom Trail Cafe, an ideal area for visitors to stop and dine at because of its close proximity to the trail. Owner John Napoli, who regularly visits the diner to help out, boasts of his robust menu.

“Here, we believe in real things such as cream, butter and really everything,” Napoli said. “We have nothing come out from a can — well, except the pear tomatoes from Napali [Naples, Italy]. We also make our bread here daily.”

Napoli, who has been in the restaurant business since 1984, guarantees that visitors will leave with no complaints about the caliber or quantity of the cafe’s food.

“We believe in making sure that nobody leaves hungry,” Napoli said. “Most of my customers end up taking some food home because they just can’t finish. Plus, our sizes are so different from Fresno.”

Although many people drive through Sanger in order to observe the scenery, senior Frank Daniel says the one site he often visits while in the town is the Chuck Wagon restaurant, which has operated for 30 years.

“I go there when I’m in Sanger, which is usually during the holidays,” Daniel said. “What I get when I eat there is the chili-cheese dog. I’m sure they have other good things, but I am unwilling to leave the chili goodness. If you’re not in heaven yet, then you have not experienced paradise until you’ve eaten that chili.”

Employee Christina Estrada, who has been working at the Chuck Wagon for two years, enjoys the closeness of the Sanger community, which she believes creates an exceptional environment for customers.

“The customers are great; everybody knows everybody,” Estrada said. “So it’s like if you come, you’re going to know somebody else and they are going to talk to you and it’ll just be fun.”

One of the popular staples of the Chuck Wagon’s menu is their chili-dog, which, Estrada claims, is what the eatery is known for.

“We serve foot-long hot dogs. You can get cheese and chili on that, and that’s what people come for. That’s what we’re known for: the chili-dog. It’s a popular item every day.”

Mayor evaluates entertainment options

Mayor Joshua Mitchell considers the farmers market to be one of the most enjoyable events in Sanger. Held annually in downtown, this event features produce straight from local farmers, and is popular due to the agricultural interests of the Central Valley.

“I would say my favorite attraction [of Sanger] to date is the farmers market,” Mitchell said. “I think that we have one of the best farmers markets in the Central Valley. I go every year.”

In addition to Sanger’s already existing attractions, Mitchell says that he plans on building an outlet mall in Sanger in order to draw in more visitors. Mitchell believes that the city’s limited entertainment choices hinder community growth.

“We’re working on innovation programs,” Mitchell said. “[We’re] trying to bring in a theater to Sanger and more entertainment venues. We’re looking at outlet malls. If we bring one here, we would be the only one in the Fresno County to have outlet stores; those are huge opportunities.”

Because of Sanger’s unique attractions and pastoral beauty, the town offers a country getaway for residents of the Central Valley and beyond.

For the first installment, read the March 10 article, Sanger offers historical attractions, environment. For more information, visit Sanger’s official website.

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